Failed Tory mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith compares life-saving puberty blockers to ‘lobotomies’

Environment minister Zac Goldsmith speaks

Conservative environment minister Zac Goldsmith, known for failing in his bid to become London mayor, has compared gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth to lobotomies.

In a tweet Friday morning (18 March), Goldsmith described puberty blockers as a “brutal pathway” despite the treatment being safe, well-studied and described by researchers as “life-saving“.

The environment minister said: “Putting children on this brutal pathway will one day be seen in the same way we now view lobotomies.”

Puberty blockers, also called puberty inhibitors, effectively act as a pause button on the physical changes brought on by puberty. The fully reversible medication stops the body from producing hormones such as testosterone and estrogen.

Blockers give trans youth further time to explore their gender identity and greatly reduces depression, anxiety and risk of suicide ideation.

And such science is what many trans rights campaigners and people sought to remind Goldsmith of.

“You are spreading anti-science misinformation,” one user commented. “Trans healthcare is healthcare.”

Another added: “This is what all conspiracy theorists say about the particular medical treatment they don’t like.”

“You are repeating propaganda from an anti-trans hate group,” a third person said. “Totally irresponsible.”

Goldsmith tweeted in response to Nikki da Costa, the former director of legislative affairs at Number 10. Da Costa said that “further work” must be done around puberty blockers.

Her comment came in light of the interim report from the Cass Review, commissioned by NHS England into the state of Britain’s threadbare trans healthcare system.

Helmed by Dr Hilary Cass OBE, Cass released the provisional report earlier this month calling for regional centres to care for trans and gender-diverse youth across the Britain “as soon as feasibly possible”.

MP Zac Goldsmith. (Alberto Pezzali/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The interim report stressed that it “reflects a point in time” and “does not set out final recommendations”.

Withholding gender-affirming healthcare from trans youth can lead to higher rates of anxiety, depression and suicide, multiple studies have found. A 2021 study found their use helps trans teens feel happier.

Goldsmith’s campaign to become mayor of London in 2016 was one defined by “dog-whistle politics“, Labour said at the time.

In running against Labour’s Sadiq Khan, his campaign literature often targeted specific ethnic communities and used “inflammatory language and scare-mongering“, critics said. He denied such accusations.

Goldsmith told PinkNews at the time he wanted to be “pansexual for London“.

“I have to admit now that I wasn’t and remain not 100 per cent sure what that meant,” he later said at a Pride in London hustings event.

The Tory candidate lost to Khan by more than 310,000 votes. He was awarded by prime minister Boris Johnson with a life-long peerage in the House of Lords in 2020.

PinkNews contacted Zac Goldsmith for comment.